Chris Burden is known for his large-scale installation projects that deal with machinery, masculinity, and destruction. His new work at the Brazilian art center Instituto Inhotim is no exception. Part-installation and part-performance, "Beam Drop," involves hoisting steel I-beams high up in the air with a crane and then dropping them climactically into a pit of wet concrete.
Burden does not know exactly where his I-beams will fall, so "Beam Drop" forms by chance. Because Burden relies on a crane to randomly place the I-beams, he raises questions about the role of the artist in creating art.
The jagged outdoor sculpture stands in stark contrast to Instituto Inhotim's lush gardens. As Designboom notes, "The violent clangs that resonate from the metallic blows juxtapose the vast, serene natural environment of the massive art complex." When the concrete hardens, Burden is left with a geometric steel sculpture. His work is reminiscent of Mark di Suvero's large outdoor installations, but while di Suervo's sculptures are perfectly planned out, Burden's lets the crane determine his design.
Can't make it to Brazil to see "Beam Drop"? A survey of Burden's work will open in New York on October 2 at the New Museum.
Watch "Beam Drop" in action below: